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October 9, 2022

What if there were a Shop for Nembutal?

Over summer, Exit’s Philip Nitschke made the trek to the Dutch city of Utrecht to have a look at the new XTC (ecstasy) pop-up shop, asking what if there were a Shop for Nembutal?

An initiative of the Poppi Drug Museum in Amsterdam and in partnership with the University of Utrecht, the purpose of the pop-up was to show the public different possible modes by which XTC could be distributed, if it were made legal.

There is a current push in the Netherlands to tackle black-market drug crime through the legalisation and regulation of so-called party drugs such as XTC/ MDMA.

What if there were a Shop for Nembutal?

Another sunny Sunday in Utrecht

1. The candy store

The first model by which party-goers could access XTC was in a store akin to a candy store.

In the mock-up, pop-up, visitors filled in a survey on one of the bolted-down ipads and were then rewarded with their mock-up ecstasy pill from the candy vending machine.

The Dutch love their sweets/ candy (Snoeptjes)  – so a candy store was an obvious choice to get the crowds in.

What if there were a Shop for Nembutal?

The Mock-Up Candy Store

What if there were a Shop for Nembutal?

The Candy Machine


2. The Government Pharmacy

A second model of distribution was the clinical, regulated government pharmacy.

In such a pharmacy, the drugs would be provided in packets similar to any over-the-counter drugs such as paracetamol for headaches or loratadine for allergies.

Distribution would be tightly controlled with this model.

What if there were a Shop for Nembutal?

The Government Pharmacy

3. Nightclub

The third model was via a vending machine in a night club.

In this model the drugs would be provided in a convenient match box packet. Perfect for all-night clubbing.

What if there were a Shop for Nembutal?

The Nightclub Vending Machine

The questions that visitors to the pop-up needed to answer before they could receive their mock-up drugs included:

  • What age limits, if any, should apply
  • Should photo ID be required
  • Should a doctor’s script be required
  • In what forms the drugs should be made available (drinkable shots or pills or lollipops/ brownies etc)
  • For what purpose should XTC be available (eg. only for therapeutic purposes eg. past trauma)
What if there were a Shop for Nembutal?

Different drug packaging. From top: pharmacy, nightclub & candy vending machine


Each model of distribution asked a different set of questions.

The initiative was confronting, thought-provoking and a progressive look into a future where drugs are de-criminlised and the black market eliminated.

Exit Proposal

This type of de-criminalisation initiative could also be applied to sodium pentobarbital, Nembutal.

Then elderly people would not need to risk having to deal with online scammers.

Nor would one need to book travel to far off destinations such as Peru or Mexico.

And no one would need to sneak around like a criminal just to get the drug that is an insurance policy for the future.

So how would it work?

The most sensible model would surely be the ‘Government Pharmacy’.

2 Safeguards would apply.

1. Photo ID (proving one is over 70 years) would be shown at the door.

2. The client would complete a supervised AI survey to assess and confirm their mental capacity.

Once these two criteria were addressed, the drugs would be dispensed.

Regulations would apply to their safe storage in the home.

This is food for thoughtful consideration for the future, isn’t it?

What if there were a Shop for Nembutal?

A Vision for the Future?

Read more in an article from The Guardian (18 August 2022)